The Republic – Plato
The Republic – What is justice? In Plato’s Socratic dialogue, The Republic, the citizens of ancient Greece explore the world’s most fundamental question.
In search of an ideal civilization, Socrates leads Glaucon, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus, and others in debates about various subjects, including justice, truth, class, and art. For without righteousness, tyranny and injustice give rise to oligarchy.
The influential dialogues of The Republic helped shape all of Western literature and philosophical thought. It is as much a doctrine of ethics and politics now as it was for the ancient Greeks, and its dilemma remains: how to create a perfect society populated by very imperfect human beings.
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Revised edition: Previously published as The Republic, this edition of The Republic (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.
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Plato was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition. Unlike nearly all of his philosophical contemporaries, Plato’s entire work is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Others believe that the oldest extant manuscript dates to around AD 895, 1100 years after Plato’s death.
This makes it difficult to know exactly what Plato wrote. Along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle, Plato laid the very foundations of Western philosophy and science. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: “the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” In addition to being a foundational figure for Western science, philosophy, and mathematics, Plato has also often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality.
Plato’s influence on Christianity is often thought to be mediated by his major influence on Saint Augustine of Hippo, one of the most important philosophers and theologians in the foundation of the Western thought. In the 19th century, the philosopher Nietzsche called Christianity “Platonism for the people”. Numenius of Apamea viewed this differently, he called Plato the Hellenic Moses. This would justify the superiority of Christianity over Hellenism because Moses predates Plato—thus the original source of this wisdom is the root of Christianity and not Hellenistic culture.
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